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If the owner of a credit card dies, surviving family members might be responsible for the debt in some circumstances. However, if a person is a sole cardholder, it is likely that no one else is responsible for the debt including the surviving spouse since Ohio is not a community property state. If the card is a rewards card, the company might apply the rewards toward the debt. If this is not enough to cover the debt, the credit card company might try to collect from the estate.

An authorized user is unlikely to be responsible after the death of the main cardholder although it is important to read the specific terms of agreement for the card. The authorized user should not use the card after the main cardholder’s death and should contact the issuer to be removed from the account.

A joint cardholder is generally considered responsible for the debt although if the person has little credit or income, the account may be closed. Finally, a person who has cosigned on a credit card is probably responsible if the main cardholder dies. However, anytime a credit card company claims that another person is responsible for a deceased person’s bills, that person should check out the claim. This may involve reviewing any contracts and even speaking to an attorney.

A person who is overwhelmed with credit card debt or might also want to consider speaking to an attorney. The attorney might be able to suggest debt relief options including bankruptcy. The attorney may also be able to advise whether the person is eligible for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Filing for bankruptcy can stop creditor harassment and legal action against a debtor and gives a person the opportunity to begin again financially.